Incidence, severity, and mortality of post-ERCP pancreatitis: a systematic review by using randomized, controlled trials

Gastrointest Endosc. 2015 Jan;81(1):143-149.e9. doi: 10.1016/j.gie.2014.06.045. Epub 2014 Aug 1.


Background: Data regarding the incidence and severity of post-ERCP pancreatitis (PEP) are primarily from nonrandomized studies.

Objective: To determine the incidence, severity, and mortality of PEP from a systematic review of the placebo or no-stent arms of randomized, controlled trials (RCTs).

Design: MEDLINE, EMBASE, and Cochrane databases were searched to identify RCTs evaluating the efficacy of drugs and/or pancreatic stents to prevent PEP.

Setting: Systematic review of patients enrolled in RCTs evaluating agents for PEP prophylaxis.

Patients: Patients in the placebo or no-stent arms of the RCTs

Intervention: ERCP.

Main outcome measurements: Incidence, severity, and mortality of PEP.

Results: There were 108 RCTs with 13,296 patients in the placebo or no-stent arms. Overall, the PEP incidence was 9.7% and the mortality rate was 0.7%. Severity of PEP was reported for 8857 patients: 5.7%, 2.6%, and 0.5% of cases were mild, moderate, and severe, respectively. The incidence of PEP in 2345 high-risk patients was 14.7% and the severity of PEP was mild, moderate, and severe in 8.6%, 3.9%, and 0.8%, respectively, with a 0.2% mortality rate. The incidence of PEP was 13% in North American RCTs compared with 8.4% in European and 9.9% in Asian RCTs. ERCPs conducted before and after 2000 had a PEP incidence of 7.7% and 10%, respectively.

Limitations: Difference in PEP risk among patients in the included RCTs.

Conclusion: The incidence of PEP and severe PEP is similar in high-risk patients and the overall cohort. Discrepancies in the incidence of PEP across geographic regions require further study.

Publication types

  • Review
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Cholangiopancreatography, Endoscopic Retrograde / adverse effects*
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Pancreatitis / epidemiology
  • Pancreatitis / etiology*
  • Pancreatitis / mortality
  • Randomized Controlled Trials as Topic
  • Severity of Illness Index
  • Stents / adverse effects*